Loving that it is rhubarb season and looking for fun ways to use it. We have made a sauce and a strawberry rhubarb pie. How do you use rhubarb?
The roasted rhubarb and strawberry recipe in this column is delicious and about as easy as it gets. The comments section in the recipe has some good ideas about how to use.
I am cooking a rhubarb khoresh as I write this .It is a Persian recipe--beef slowly braised with onions, turmeric, piles of parsley and mint, rosewater, saffron, and lime juice. After two hours on the top of the stove, I add the rhubarb and give it more time in the oven. Exotic scents promise an extraordinary dinner.
Maedl - That sounds amazing. Are you able to share a recipe? I see a similar recipe here on Food52 but without some of the ingredients you mention (rosewater and lime juice). Thanks!
Maedl, I would not have thought of that but what a great idea as a lot of Persian recipes derive that sour, tangy flavor from dried Persian limes, but rhubarb would work for at as well!
I am happy to post the recipe, but let me get Easter cooking done first! The recipe is from Food of Life by Najmieh Batmanglij, and there is a similar recipe on the web by her, but it is not the same as the one in the new edition of her book. I like to do non-traditional meals for holidays, so for Easter, I am cooking a Nowruz (new year's/spring) dinner from her recipe collection. Lots of work, but lots of heavenly smells, too!
I just tried Thomas Keller's rhubarb brown butter tart recipe, and it's stellar. It's time-consuming, but the process is really cool. He has you "cure" the rhubarb in sugar and grenadine until it softens--this way, the rhubarb releases some water and gets slightly softer, but still retains a great texture.
Otherwise, I love a classic strawberry-rhubarb pie, rhubarb compote with golden raisins and toasted almonds, and roasted rhubarb with ginger and orange zest.
Oh. My. That rhubarb brown-butter tart was amazing. I'm thinking of a riff on the rhubarb tart using pistachios and apricots. So much fruit.. so little time.
Rhubarb rum sandwich cakes (like whoopie pies). You can happily double the rhubarb. Here's my recipe: http://buttersugarflowers.com/2014/04/14/rhubarb-rum-sandwich-cakes/
I made these baked beans last week...they were a hit with the resident taste tester!
Raspberry rhubarb pie, on the site, can't find it easily from my phone. Raspberry rhubarb cheesecake bars from a magazine I read this month, sure you could find if you Google. I want to try the beef and rice dish above.
As promised, here is the rhubarb khoresh recipe as well as a recipe for an eggplant-pomegranate casserole that I served as an accompaniment. I will make both of these again.
6 Tbl. oil, butter or ghee
2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lb. meat for braising--lamb veal, or beef OR boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 2 inch cubes
1 ½ t. sea salt
¼ t. freshly ground pepper
½ t. turmeric
3 c. chopped parsley
½ c. chopped mint (or 2 Tbl. dried mint)
¼ t. ground saffron dissolved in 1 Tbl. rosewater
1 Tbl. tomato paste
2 Tbl. fresh lime juice
1 lb. fresh or frozen rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
In a Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat and bown onions and meat. Add salt, pepper, and turmeric and saute for 1 minute.
Pour in water--2 ½ cups for meat and 1 ½ cups for chicken. Cover and cook for 1 hour for meat and 15 minutes for chicken over low heat, stirring occasionally.
In a wide skillet, saute parsley and mint in 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes until aromatic.
Add parsley and mint mixtures, saffron-rosewater, tomato paste, and lime juice to the Dutch oven. Cover and simmer an additional 55 minutes over low heat.
Preheat oven to 350 (180 C.) degrees.Transfer the khoresh to a deep, ovenproof casserole. Arrange the rhubarb on top, cover and seal tightly with a layer of parchment paper and a layer of aluminum foil. Pierce several holes through the parchment and foil. Place the casserole in the oven and cook for 25 to 35 minutes until the rhubarb is tender but not disintegrating.
Adjust seasonings. If the khoresh is too sour, add 1 tablespoon sugar. If the rhubarb needs more cooking, continue until done.
Serve hot from the same dish with saffron-flavored steamed rice.
From Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies by Najmieh Batmanglij
Eggplant and Pomegranate Braise wit Aromatic Herbs
8 Chinese eggplants or 2 large eggplants (about 2 lbs.), peeled and bitterness removed
½ c oil
1 c (¼ lb.) walnuts, toasted
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 c.chopped fresh parsley
1 c. chopped fresh cilantro
½ c. chopped spring onions
1 Tbl. grape molasses or honey
2 t. ground cumin
¼ t. ground cinnamon
1 t. sea salt
¼ t. pepper
¼ t. turmeric
1 serrano chili, chopped, or 1 t. red pepper flakes
2 Tbl. rice flour
3 cups pomegranate juice or ½ c. pomegranate paste diluted in 3 cups water.
½ c. pomegranate arils
¼ c. chopped cilantro
1. Remove the crowns from the eggplant, peel and slice into ¼ inch thick by 3 inch lengths.
2. Arrange the eggplant on an oiled baking sheet and brush both sides with oil. Broil each side for 2 minutes or until golden brown.
3. Preheat oven to 350 (180 C) degrees.
Spread the walnuts on a sheet pan and bake them for 10 minutes until lightly toasted. Set aside.
In a food processor, place all the ingredients for the walnut sauce, but only 1 cup of the pomegranate juice. Pulse until you have a grainy paste. Adjust seasoning to taste. It should be sweet and sour. If it is too sour, add a little more grape molasses.
Arrange one layer of eggplant slices in a deep, non-reactive 9-by-9-inch baking dish and spread a layer of the walnut sauce on top. Add the remaining pomegranate juice. Then place another layer of eggplant over the top. Continue alternating eggplant slices and walnut sauce until all the eggplant slices have been used.
Cover and bake aat 350 degrees for 50 minutes
Remove from the oven and garnish with pomegranate arils and cilantro. Serve from the same dish with rice or bulgur.
MY NOTE: I used a total of 3 cups of pomegranate juice, as the recipe specifies. Even after baking, the dish was much too soupy, so I poured the pomegranate juice into a pot and reduced it over a high flame until it was syrupy. I poured that over the eggplant mixture--this was about two hours before serving. I reheated it at meal time and the reduced juice absorbed nicely into the eggplant and the consistency was good.
From Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies by Najmieh Batmanglij
Maedl - Thanks so much for posting these recipes. The rhubarb khoresh sounds delicious and I'm planning to make it for a dinner party this weekend. I might also have to try the eggplant recipe.
I want to add a note about Najmieh, the author of the book from which these recipes come. She offers short cooking programs in her home in Georgetown, here in DC. I attended a Nowruz (Persian New Year) session last month. I found it very helpful--not so much for the techniques, which I pretty much could figure out on my own--but for the great overview she provides on Persian traditions and ingredients. The meal was exotic and lovely and gave a great opportunity for people of different backgrounds to come together and explore a culture that we often see through a scrim of recent history.
The rhubarb snacking cake from Deb at Smitten Kitchen is really, really good.
One additional thought: rhubarb jelly. It has all the lovely flavor of rhubarb and is a very pretty color (very pretty!).
And here's a photo - isn't it beautiful?!
Thank you, Maedl. I love savory rhubarb dishes and am planning to make your recipes plus check out that book.
As a savory, rhubarb goes quite well with chicken and rabbit too. I cut it into pieces, slather it with mustard, roast until the meat starts to brown, then add rhubarb, white wine, and cream.
A few years ago in Sweden, we had an eye-opening dessert--rhubarb that was thin-sliced and only cooked the slightest bit in a cardamom sugar syrup. It was still crunchy! I later found a similar recipe in Tina Nordström's book, A Culinary Tour of Sweden.
I made both dishes for Easter dinner, along with a feta-walnut-herb spread with fresh vegetables, sambusas (spiced ground meat encased in a pastry dough) and kuku (similar to a fritatta). Everyone enjoyed the delicacy of the flavors--and it is the kind of food to eat slowly and savor, so we had a lovely long evening of conversation to boot.
I forgot to mention another savory rhubarb dish that I make in the spring. I believe it is Syrian. It very simple--dice a half stick of rhubarb and finely chop a clove of garlic. Crack two eggs into a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and beat. Saute the garlic, along with some olive oil, in a heavy frying pan. When the garlic is fragrant, add the diced rhubarb and continue cooking until the rhubarb begins to soften. Toss the eggs over the rhubarb mixture and scramble. Continue cooking until the eggs are done--but not hard.
That makes a quick and satisfying Sunday lunch. Our farmers market takes place on Sunday morning and by the time I get home and have everything put away, I am ravenous. This is one of my go-to dishes.
I am so impressed by Maedl's recipe and can't wait to try it. I have a wild patch of rhubarb in my front yard, and all I use it for is to make a simple syrup of rhubarb from Canal House so I can make rhubarb margaritas all spring.
Another rhubarb update: after trying some at a friend's house, I'm making rhubarb shrub--equal parts red wine vinegar, rhubarb, and sugar. You can simmer it and then filter it for a quick shrub, but I'm trying a cold infusion: basically just combining everything in a jar and letting it sit until the sugar is fully dissolved and the rhubarb is soft, then filtering it. Really yummy with soda water or as an ice cream topping.
Weeknights: Alice Waters style, baked until soft with the juice of one orange. Served with creme anglaise ice cream of course.